Mogadishu (Onkod Radio) — USAID has announced that it will provide $1.5 for the Somali children’s education programs as the drought had forced thousands of Somali children out of school.
USAID Somalia Mission Director Jeffrey N. Bakken and UNICEF Somalia Country Representative Wafaa Saeed signed an agreement for a USAID contribution of US$1.5 million to UNICEF towards an Emergency Education Drought Response Programme that responds to the impact of the drought on the education sector.
USAID’s contribution will fill a critical gap in providing emergency education to the nearly 400,000 school-aged children displaced by the current drought.
“The influx of newly displaced children risks compounding an already challenged education sector, which is committed to reaching the many children out of school,” said a joint statement released by USAID and UNICEF.
USAID’s contribution supports an on-going collaboration between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education, Federal Member State Ministries of Education, the Education Cluster, UNICEF and the Global Partnership for Education to keep existing schools functioning, to prevent student drop out, reintegrate internally displaced children into safe learning environments, and to build capacity of the education sector to respond to emergencies.
“We must ensure that the most vulnerable crisis-affected children have access to safe, protective, inclusive and continuous learning opportunities, while building the capacity of federal, state, and local education officials and communities to respond to emergencies,” said USAID/Somalia Mission Director Jeffrey N. Bakken.
“Schools serve as an entry point for life-saving services, such as food and clean drinking water, and ensures that children are protected from abuse and exploitation. Education complements life-saving humanitarian assistance and builds individual resilience,” said Bakken.
“This contribution by USAID is critical to respond to the education crisis that is unfolding in Somalia, with an estimated 900,000 children attending school at risk of dropping out. The drought crisis has exhausted household livelihoods and children are displaced while drawn into the daily struggle of survival. This programme will assist UNICEF and partners to reach these children faster while expanding our current reach,” says Wafaa Saeed, UNICEF Somalia Representative.
The United States government funding for the drought response in Somalia to date is more than $706 million.